Alpine skiing-Maze hits dead end as super combined medal slips away
ROSA KHUTOR, Russia
ROSA KHUTOR, Russia (Reuters) - Tina Maze has picked a rotten time to fall out of form.
The Slovenian ripped up the record books last season when she romped to the overall World Cup title and arrived in Sochi as a medal hope across a variety of Alpine skiing events.
On Monday, however, she failed to make the podium in the super combined discipline after struggling for rhythm in the slalom, which is usually one of her strengths.
"It wasn't good," she said after finishing fourth overall.
"I didn't start it good, I was trying to find the right feeling and I didn't manage that.
"It's hard to ski slalom for me this way this season, it's just not working and I'm fighting with myself. So it's hard."
Maze won an incredible 11 World Cup races in 2013, setting a new overall points record of 2,414 to beat the previous mark held by Lindsey Vonn, and also won the super-G world title.
As the Olympics approached, however, her form tailed off and this season she had to wait until the end of January for her first victory, winning a downhill in Cortina.
Despite the dip, Maze believes the Olympics might just spark her back into the kind of form that made her almost unbeatable in giant slalom last season and which earned her silver medals in giant slalom and super-G in Vancouver.
"It could yeah but it's like when you don't find the right feeling. It's hard to go down easy," she said.
"I'm not skiing bad but still I'm not winning."
Maze recently switched coaches, turning to Swiss Mauro Pini after splitting with Italian Walter Ronconi and the move seemed to pay dividends when she won in Cortina.
"My head is playing games with me sometimes but we'll figure that out," she said in the run-up to Sochi.
"When things are going well you don't think too much and when you're losing you start thinking too much.
"The trigger is to stop thinking and just do it."
With Wednesday's downhill looming, Maze is running out of time figure things out.
(Reporting by Martyn Herman)
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